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Old 11-03-2007, 11:10 PM
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Donna A Donna A is offline
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Having a BALL using Pan Pastels!!!

Hi, everyone! I've been having a ball using the Pan Pastels! Finally I've had time to really get into using them. I've done 5 or 6 pieces so far, only two fully finished and now hanging, as of yesterday, in our MidAmerica Pastel Society 11th Annual Small Painting Show. Below is "Light at Wood's Edge" done completely with Pan Pastels on AS Colourfix Soft Umber over a charcoal value study, sprayed with fixative. This particular MAPS show requires paintings to be 8"x10" or smaller.



Earlier stage photo before a lot of the lightest leaf lights were added--and the photo I took this summer:



This is "Golden Fields" on Colourfix Burnt Umber over a simple charcoal drawing, fixed.



Earlier stage and photo I took last year in NE:



Was so interesting to hear the feedback of other MAPS artists yesterday when we were delivering works and hanging the show---seeing their first Pan Pastel paintings, saying how they "loved the suedy look of the PanP's surface" and "how rich the colors looked" and surprised at "how much detail could be achieved" and "how painterly." I'm doing a demo of PanP's for the Nov. MAPS meeting---and we'll have a hands-on session then, too, where everyone will be able to try out the colors themselves on a variety of papers. If anyone is in the Kansas City area, please come to the meeting! Tuesday, Nov. 27th, 7-9 pm, Prairie Village, KS. (email me for more info.) One of our members drives FIVE hours to come to the meeting---and another five hours home, rolling into his driveway around 3 am each month! He says it's always worth it!!! So, come if you can!

Here is a piece I've just started on the AS Colourfix SuperTooth (8"x10".) First, the very loose, quick charcoal sketch and then the initial colors I've roughed in with the PanP sponges.:



I'm loving the way the Pan Pastels are going onto the Cfix SuperTooth. I was a bit surprised how easily the color went on to the even greater texture.

And here is a photo of the 20"x28" painting I have started on white Colourfix. I did a pretty loose full-vaule sketch of the composition in vine charcoal---and decided to not fix it before laying on the PanP's---so that I could incorporate the charcoal into the very rich, intense colors to lower their intensities in the 'underpainting' for a more natural look in this landscape. I knew, from my other PanP paintings, that I could so easily come back in and lay on rich, intense color accents as I needed later. I was very happy with how the charcoal worked for the over-all color quality I was wanting---and will use this more often. Something I do in my other pastel paintings so often, already.



After having worked on the smaller pieces, it was grand to work on a larger piece! I've found all the different sponge sizes accomodate my painting needs well---and was very glad of that. I've discovered different ways of picking up the color from the pans and even mixing between 2 or 3 pans---and that what various angles---and light, medium and firm pressures, etc., I use can give me some very rich variety in surface, color, edges, etc., as I would also achieve with different pressures and so forth with the tips or the sides of my pastel sticks.

Layering is great! This was another happy surprise for me as I was experimenting! I was able to do a lot of layers, each with different 'feels' and so many qualities I can do with the sticks---and yet---there are unique effects or 'looks' I am getting with the PanP's that I would not normally achieve with the sticks. So---these are really expanding in lovely unexpected ways the effects we can create with pastels.

And while I've only played with this in some experiment pieces and not in 'formal' paintings yet, I've come to understand that I will be often using the PanP's and the stick pastels back and forth together during a painting, rather than simply using only one or the other---or using the PanP's only as underpainting. So that has been very interesting to me to discover. For anyone who had wondered if these were really serious materials or not---I'm finding them wonderfully SERIOUS---while still allowing all manner of playfulness! :-) So--that's what works for me! I'm just having so much fun with these and the way they have expanded what pastel painting is! And that is pretty exciting to me---a huge fan of pastel painting for far more than two decades! My head is spinning with so many other thoughts---but---I'm going to go paint right now! :-) Take good care! Donna ;-}
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Old 11-03-2007, 11:51 PM
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David Patterson David Patterson is offline
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Re: Having a BALL using Pan Pastels!!!

Lovely work and great info Donna!
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Old 11-04-2007, 01:22 AM
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Re: Having a BALL using Pan Pastels!!!

Thanks for sharing with us Donna. Have fun.


Doug
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Old 11-04-2007, 01:05 AM
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Re: Having a BALL using Pan Pastels!!!

Donna,

These are wonderful. Could you share about which applicators gave you which effects. For example, the dappled trees, or the detail on the trunks, which applicator did you use; did you use the edge of it? I would appreciate any detail you can share about tools and edges, and effects. Thanks so much.
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Old 11-04-2007, 03:47 AM
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Donna A Donna A is offline
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Re: Having a BALL using Pan Pastels!!!

Hi, Shari! I'll be glad to share everything I can---tho will be in several installments. :-) For these small paintings, I found the pale-blue plastic handle triangle-shape tool extremely useful---and was sooo glad that I had ordered extras when I ordered the full set of Pan Pastels from Dakota, so that I had several to use at once. (By the way--I noticed Dakota has the full set--well---all the sets---on sale!!!)

I used the edge of the triangle tool a LOT! Also the flat of it---along with the other handled tools. And the wedge sponges a lot. I had even eventually experimented with carving down one of the sponges that was a bar shape with oval ends. Turned out that the very, very thin line I was able to achieve let me get into some of the very fine spots of strong light I wanted to build up---but probably used the triangle handled tool for those smaller, finer areas the most. The grasses and other longer, narrower areas--usually picked up color on the edge and then simply pressed it against the painting. This worked soooo well!

I'm the kind of painter, when using oils in particular, that has maybe 20 painty brushes in use, liking to reserve one for a particularly (for example) dark, dark green---another for a medium-valued warmish green and yet another for a medium coolish green, and perhaps a nice lighter green on another brush,etc. And even there I keep changing qualities of the color---but within the narrower parameters, so I keep my colors cleaner, preserve many of my general mixes---and sometimes exact mix to be used when I come back to the area---and most importantly, don't have to keep cleaning off the brush or other tool----and I found the same things at work with the Pan Pastels. Again---I was sooo glad that I ordered extras, even tho the company supplied a really good number and variety with the full set! And it is so easy to clean off any of the sponges with a few pulls over paper towel.

Here are some pics of the trays I made with foamcore board for the PanPs and their tools. I've found them really handy to carry them from my personal studio to my classroom studio where I've let several of the artists use them. Right now, they are sitting on the table at my pastel easel---and plunked right down on top of my Art Spectrums, which I keep immediately at my right hand. I'm going to have to figure out how to work these in to my set up, which right now is way past capacity to even add any more table top space and still have room left for all my other works in the studio. LOL! But---I'll think of sumthin'! :-) I always keep the pastel brands I use the most within the easiest reach.





I took these pictures pretty early on--so there are not as many colored-up sponges as there are now! The white sponge triangles you see are some that one of the artists who studies with me brought from the salon where he works. They are much, much softer than the ones from the PanP company---and don't work very well for much of anything---with rare exception! There are some white sponge double-ended tools he also brought which do work pretty well---tho again, I generally prefer the double-tipped little tools from PanP. I used them a LOT, too! And they are really handy for smaller areas and accents and such. I was also drawing with them in several of the experiments I was doing earlier.

You can see in the pic above the sky-blue colored sponges, some of which I'd set 'face up' in the little white box below the foam trays at the lower right---and around them, you can see some of Terry Lugwig's blues which live in that area of the table. There is a large round sponge balanced on the trays with the pans, full of dark and medium ultramarine. Below you can see where I was beginning to work on the 20"x28" landscape.



The light-filled leaves on the "Woods" painting are mostly handled with these small double-tipped tools. I really loaded up the tip with pigment then laid it on to the painting, perhaps pulling it a bit, then would reload.



When I was painting the very light leaves in 'Woods' I found it very important to be sure each stroke had it's own interesting variety and personality as much as possible, (as in any painting situation) so that the leaves did not look like boring polka dots!!! Irregularity is one of the prime qualities of the look of things in landscapes (and so much else!) So--very important 'touch' to learn.

Guess I should share something that really hit me squarely in awareness!: As with our pastel sticks, as with our oil and acrylic and wc brushes, and so with our PanPastel tools, it is absolutely vital to develop a FEEL for each tool---its uniqueness, its range of possibilities, its limits and limitations, outcomes of various pressures, drags, draws, dabs and twists and turns---NOT in a gimmicky way, but in a way that is carrying out your own sense of expressiveness for every stroke you are making.

And---we do our very best when we stay very deliciously aware of that place on our painting and on our painting tool where the two meet! Think of the Sistine Chapel ceiling painting of Adam's hand reaching up to touch God's hand reaching down---and that magical point of the two finger tips connecting! That point---that precious connecting point where everything that is happening at the moment IS happening! Feel it. Stay constantly aware of that connecting point and the sense of it. Aside from honoring that point, you are also gaining constant information! Really, truly! How light your touch is, how heavy. How easily the tool is slipping across the painting surface with pigment, or how hesitant, etc. I promise it can make remarkable differences that are often hard to imagine. And can be a habit one needs to develop.

Also---I find that there are at least 4 general ways of starting and ending a stroke---whether of a PanP tool, a stick of pastel or a brush. Maybe think in terms of airplanes taking off and landing---and the differences between winged aircraft and helicopters. OK---don't laugh too hard:
• Winged--coming in for a gradual landing--taxi a bit across the painting--gentle, gradual take off
• Helicopter--abrupt straight down--taxi a bit across the painting--staight up again
• Combo-W-H--coming in for a gradual landing--taxi a bit across the painting--staight up again.
• Combo-H-W--abrupt straight down--taxi a bit across the painting--gentle, gradual take off

Now---you can get so many wonderful different qualities using the 4 variations above---and I used these constantly constantly---with the Pan Pastels and with any sticks or brushes I ever use when painting in any medium! Each of these variations in beginning a stroke and ending it has huge influence on the look of the stroke--and there will be differences depending on whether it is the first stroke of pigment laid down on that area of the painting, or whether it is many layers up. A lot of that is experimenting and experience. So--do 'play' with it. Develop some really fun, sassy, special "English on the ball" as they say! :-)

And when you are pulling the tool/stick/brush across the painting, there again are so many possibilities with your pressure, how fast or slow, if you pull straight or twist in some way or give greater pressure to one edge or another.

I used all these variations throughout the paintings.

Something I learned is that for really rich color, (which I LOVE!) I found it useful to load up the tool often---which is exactly the same thing I've learned with brushes with oil and acrylic. Something I see soooo often is an artist working in oil just "pawing and pawing" the painting surface with the brush, long after it has given up most of its paint---and I noticed it with one of the artists borrowing my full set of PanPs the other day. She was also complaining that the color was not being very rich. LOL! Had to agree! But as soon as I loaded up the sponge, laid on a couple of strokes, loaded again, stroke, stroke, loaded again---etc! Very luxurious, rich color that she was thrilled with! She was using Rives BFK white rag etching paper. She eventually abandoned that and went to the Colourfix---and decided she was drastically happier with the latter. Haven't tried it on Wallis yet, but will. And some other papers. But loading up the sponge is so important---just as with the brush! I sorta suggest a 'rule' about oil paint---one, two or three strokes, then reload. Same is proving so nicely true for the Pan Pastels. There are times with either where we can do more, but--for the most part, reloading often will probably satisfy you far more!!!

I was eventually picking up 2 or 3 pans at a time and holding them in my left hand as I painted. Was very easy to put them down and pick up others. Mostly did that when I was covering some larger areas, particularly at earlier stages, or when building up very rich layers.

Now there is sooo much else to share, but right now---the pillow is calling! :-) Will add more tomorrow. I'll mention some things I discovered about ways of mixing colors. I'm so persnickity about color, so it was interesting to find ways of working out particular color combos, such as darker, warmer, lower-intensity greens that don't reek of pure thalo! But---hopefully this gives you some things to experiment with for now! Enjoy! Take good care! Donna ;-}
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• Visit the Writings page for Studio Tips and other useful Information
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Old 11-04-2007, 06:09 AM
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CJMonty CJMonty is offline
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Re: Having a BALL using Pan Pastels!!!

Donna,

Can I be so cheeky as to ask what exactly came in the way of tools with the Full Set of Pan Pastels. Could you put them together and take a pic so I have a good idea. I am only an amateur when it comes to painting ( I use Watercolour and Soft pastels, the later my absolute favourite). I have the Full Set of Rembrandts and the Full Set of Schminke and quite a few Art Spectrum, mainly the Australian Colours and a selection of 36 Windsor and Newtons and a handful of Conte and a 48 Set of Derwent Pastel Pencils all Courtesy of a very generous Husband, Monty. I was sort of wondering about the Pan Pastels as they sound like fun, however the last time I ordered from the US it was the postage that was so expensive. I got the Sample Paper pack and 4 sets of Sample Soft Pastels from Dakota all at a good price and their service was excellent, it was just the freight that was so very expensive. I'm almost wondering if I was bale to get them through one of my kind friends over there that it may be cheaper for them to post for me. ( Just an idea). Have to run it by Monty first of course though. With the exchange rate so good as it is at the moment it may well be worth my while. Haven't seen or heard of them advertised here in Australia yet, and there are a lot of art materials that you guys have that we don't have the opportunity of even looking at unless we send away for them.

Take for example, if I was to get the Pastel Journal here from the News stand, it would cost me AUS$18.95 ( US$17.43 )per journal where as if I was to order it through subscription it is absolutely nowhere near that price at all.

I love your "Woods" painting, it looks so cool and relaxing, I could just go and sit under one of those trees and sit and listen to the nature around me or quietly read a book.

The colours of the Pan Pastels look so nice, am looking forward to further installments of your lessons in the use of them. THANKYOU VERY MUCH.

Take Care and have a great week.

Lots of Love Carolynn
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Old 11-04-2007, 07:33 AM
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Mary Brigid Mary Brigid is offline
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Re: Having a BALL using Pan Pastels!!!

Wonderful work Donna and thank you for sharing.
Mary Brigid
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Old 11-04-2007, 09:08 AM
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Re: Having a BALL using Pan Pastels!!!

Donna, Your paintings are scrumptious! What a lot of wonderful ideas and details you have given us with your exploration in the world of PanPastels! Even for those of us that can't acquire them yet. Your analogy with helicopters and planes is precious and well worth reading this thread if only for that!

It seems like Christmas around this forum! It's like a hot new video game just came out, with all the kids standing in line so they can acquire one! What a treat for pastelists to get a new "toy" to explore with!

I will be on the sidelines for quite awhile as they aren't in my budget. Even so, it is really thrilling reading and visualizing all that is being discovered and created with this wonderful new toy!

Please do share more of your thoughts, I have pulled up a chair and am waiting patiently. Have some sweet dreams!

Carol
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Old 11-04-2007, 09:22 AM
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Re: Having a BALL using Pan Pastels!!!

Donna, great work, and especially, great sharing. Just reading your posts make my hands positively itch to try the Pan-pastels. And I ADORED your aviative description of strokes, so apt!

Thanks a lot,
Charlie
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Old 11-04-2007, 10:17 AM
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Re: Having a BALL using Pan Pastels!!!

Donna, your paintings are wonderful, and we so much appreciate all your help and advice -- it's really beyond words. Thank you
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Old 11-04-2007, 05:31 PM
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Re: Having a BALL using Pan Pastels!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by CJMonty
Haven't seen or heard of them advertised here in Australia yet, and there are a lot of art materials that you guys have that we don't have the opportunity of even looking at unless we send away for them.

Take for example, if I was to get the Pastel Journal here from the News stand, it would cost me AUS$18.95 ( US$17.43 )per journal where as if I was to order it through subscription it is absolutely nowhere near that price at all.
Carolynn,
I think I paid AUD$17.95 in July for an issue of the Pastel Journal. I had talked myself out of it the first time, but relented when I used it as an excuse to buy myself an anniversary present. The only reason I don't subscribe is because I've heard horror stories trying to get it overseas.


Donna,
Your paintings are simply gorgeous, be it sticks or pans! Thank you so much for sharing this with us.
I also loved the photo of your studio, wow.
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Old 11-04-2007, 06:18 PM
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Re: Having a BALL using Pan Pastels!!!

Donna,

You are such a sweet lady for taking the time to share all of this great information. Thank you so much!

Your paintings are gorgeous! I've been staring at the pictures of your pastel setup for quite sometime. What a wonderful studio!

I have your 3-CD set on color theory and it's truly fabulous. I wish you had more such lessons on CD.

Terri
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Old 11-05-2007, 01:12 AM
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Donna A Donna A is offline
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Re: Having a BALL using Pan Pastels!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by CJMonty
Donna,

Can I be so cheeky as to ask what exactly came in the way of tools with the Full Set of Pan Pastels. Could you put them together and take a pic so I have a good idea.

Hi, Carolynn! LOL! First I have to thank you for thinking I might be able to remember 'clear back to when' I opened the box of Pan Pastels--maybe two months ago! The good news is---one of the artists who studies with me also ordered the full set---and she's only had time to use the wonders once and then has been in Italy for several weeks. Tomorrow I'll photo her set, which is still fairly in tact as far as the tools, tho she also ordered some extra sponge tools. Mostly I remember that there seemed to be at least one of everything in the full set---plus extras of some of the sponges plus extra sponge covers for the tools with handles. I would still order extras and am so thankful that I had ordered more. But part of that is my working style. It's really very possible to do anything with one of each--and just clean them between colors with a couple of swipes on a paper towel.

Quote:
I am only an amateur when it comes to painting

Ahhhhh---I always think in terms of the original meaning of 'amateur'---'lover of....' :-) I'm so sorry we have lost that lovely connotation. At any rate---you love painting! yea! :-)

Quote:
( I use Watercolour and Soft pastels, the later my absolute favourite). I have the Full Set of Rembrandts and the Full Set of Schminke and quite a few Art Spectrum, mainly the Australian Colours and a selection of 36 Windsor and Newtons and a handful of Conte and a 48 Set of Derwent Pastel Pencils all Courtesy of a very generous Husband, Monty. I was sort of wondering about the Pan Pastels as they sound like fun, however the last time I ordered from the US it was the postage that was so expensive. I got the Sample Paper pack and 4 sets of Sample Soft Pastels from Dakota all at a good price and their service was excellent, it was just the freight that was so very expensive. I'm almost wondering if I was bale to get them through one of my kind friends over there that it may be cheaper for them to post for me. ( Just an idea).

Sounds like you have a great selection of colors! (Irronically, perhaps, AS's are my ultra-favorite brand of pastels and I have aout 4700 different sticks---25 brands---well, 26 now with the PanP's---and I have been using the AS's for 75% to 80% of my work for years.) A couple of months ago---seems like there was a report that the PanP company was going to begin exporting, so---you might even want to contact the company to see what the plans are. And good for them to know of your interest! This is their web address. http://www.panpastel.com/

Quote:
Have to run it by Monty first of course though. With the exchange rate so good as it is at the moment it may well be worth my while. Haven't seen or heard of them advertised here in Australia yet, and there are a lot of art materials that you guys have that we don't have the opportunity of even looking at unless we send away for them.

Take for example, if I was to get the Pastel Journal here from the News stand, it would cost me AUS$18.95 ( US$17.43 )per journal where as if I was to order it through subscription it is absolutely nowhere near that price at all.

I love your "Woods" painting, it looks so cool and relaxing, I could just go and sit under one of those trees and sit and listen to the nature around me or quietly read a book.

Thank you, Carolynn. It was a gorgeous place---a large hosta garden with a very deep creek surrounding the yard and these trees at the 'clearing' going back toward the creek and well beyond. I took this photo late in the afternoon at the Heartland Hosta and Shade Plant Society garden party for the members. It was a lovely combination of light and shadow, and I really wanted to capture that fleeting moment! And yes---a perfect place to relax, enjoy the sounds of nature and---if I had not been joyfully capturing other lovely vistas there---enjoy a good book! :-)

Quote:

The colours of the Pan Pastels look so nice, am looking forward to further installments of your lessons in the use of them. THANKYOU VERY MUCH.

Take Care and have a great week.

Lots of Love Carolynn

Thank you!!! I'm going to write a bit about the adventures I had in finding great ways of getting color mixes I wanted! Love and Hugs to you!!! Donna ;-}
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• Visit the Writings page for Studio Tips and other useful Information
I celebrate the beauty around us with Color and Light! Donna Aldridge
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Old 11-05-2007, 01:24 AM
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Donna A Donna A is offline
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Re: Having a BALL using Pan Pastels!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by nvcricket
Donna, Your paintings are scrumptious! What a lot of wonderful ideas and details you have given us with your exploration in the world of PanPastels! Even for those of us that can't acquire them yet. Your analogy with helicopters and planes is precious and well worth reading this thread if only for that!

Hi, Carol! :-) Thank you! x2! :-)
Quote:

It seems like Christmas around this forum! It's like a hot new video game just came out, with all the kids standing in line so they can acquire one! What a treat for pastelists to get a new "toy" to explore with!

LOL!!! You know---I think about how our moms or grandmothers used to go out and buy a new hat when they needed some excitement! We go out and acquire new colors! And I love thinking about our beloved painting materials as "toys" !!! cuz it seems to me that if 'we are doing it RIGHT' we are PLAYING!!!---joyfully expressing the beauty we find around us! Ahhh! So---as long as you have yummy colors to work with now---you have this new wonder to save up for! Something really fun to look forward to when the time is right! And great to learn more about them with things that get shared here so that when....you'll be even more ready to dive straight in! Makes sense to me! ;-)

Quote:

I will be on the sidelines for quite awhile as they aren't in my budget. Even so, it is really thrilling reading and visualizing all that is being discovered and created with this wonderful new toy!

Please do share more of your thoughts, I have pulled up a chair and am waiting patiently. Have some sweet dreams!

Carol

Ohhhh---I love how you understand things! Lovely!!!! OK---you're on! Take good care! Donna ;-}
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• Visit the Writings page for Studio Tips and other useful Information
I celebrate the beauty around us with Color and Light! Donna Aldridge
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Old 11-05-2007, 01:41 AM
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Shari Shari is offline
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Re: Having a BALL using Pan Pastels!!!

Donna,

Thank you so much for all the fabulous info. I am eagerly drinking up all that you have written. My Pan Pastels should be here by mid week and I am so excited. I really understand what you mean by learning to feel each tool. My teacher, Richard McKinley, has helped me to use a much lighter touch than I used to. I feel like it's a dance between me and the ground I am using for my painting and there is an energy, a give and receive going on between the ground, the pastels and my own body and emotions. I look forward to reading tomorrow's installments. Thanks again.
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